Why Instagram Is So Popular and How To Set Up An Account

For many people, social media is a critical tool. Individuals use these public platforms to communicate, in addition to updating friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers about the happenings in their lives. Businesses also employ these outreach methods as a means of promoting their entities and attracting new customers. 

One of the more popular social media avenues is Instagram. 

Instagram Overview

Started in 2010, Instagram is a social media platform devoted to photo and video streaming. Users can post photographs and recorded videos to their site for their followers to see and watch. Like other well-known outlets, individuals can follow others with active accounts and vice versa. 

Unlike other social media outlets, however, Instagram is more of a mobile platform that people typically use while on devices, such as their cell phone or tablet. That said, you can still view and post from your laptop or desktop computer.

The Reasons Instagram Is Popular

Visibility: Arguably, the most significant reason Instagram has become so popular is that it is a strictly visual medium. Everyone has heard the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words. Those who set up an Instagram account are afforded the opportunity to view bright, vibrant photos. Granted, other avenues enable account holders to post and view images. However, these pictures are typically surrounded by blocks of text that might prove distracting or limit a viewer’s interest. 

Creativity: Instagram users favor the platform for its promotion of creativity. People often use the platform to post innovative, enjoyable, inspiring visuals for their followers to enjoy. Given that Instagram is a worldwide entity, these posts can prove quite far-reaching and help heighten the user’s profile manifold. 

Business-Friendly: Instagram has quickly morphed into one of the more business-friendly social media platforms. Establishments from large corporations to local mom-and-pop stores use the versatile platform to display products and services in a way that brings their products and services to life. 

Setting Up An Account

Establishing an account is relatively straightforward. First, choose which device you want to use to Instagram on (most use their phones). Then download the Instagram app onto that device. Next, open the app and follow the directions for setting up and using the account. You’ll be asked to provide information like your email and phone number and then confirm via code texted to your phone (for security). You’ll then be asked to register by creating a username and password. 

Note that Instagram also enables those with active Facebook accounts to register or log in utilizing their Facebook credentials. 

Though mobile usage is the preferred method, Instagram accounts may be established and used on laptop and desktop computers. Those planning on employing Instagram on their computers can visit Instagram’s website and click on the sign-up icon. If you do it this way, you’ll be prompted to enter your email address and then choose a username and password. As with mobile accounts, computer users can log in using their Facebook credentials.

How To Streamline Your App Development Workflow

As the shift to digital accelerates, the demand for new apps has surged. App developers face various challenges in meeting the market’s demands. There are funding constraints, a need to establish quality control systems, and other issues. The most immediate concern for app developers though, is how to work in an efficient and effective way. In this article, we will discuss how you can streamline your app development workflow in order to reduce development costs and speed up turn around times in your quest to build the next great app

  1. Start By Building a Code Library

Writing the actual code that will run your app is a vital part of your process, but it is a part of your process that takes up a big chunk of your time. For many app developers, they will be working from scratch, with very limited resources. Finding ways to write code efficiently is, then, very important. 

So what you need to do is to catalog any existing code in a library. This will improve your productivity by reducing the amount of time that developers will need to write and test new code. All that will need to be done is to retrieve code from the library and use it where needed in future app development projects. Consequently, your turnaround times will dramatically improve.

  1. Reduce your Data Storage Infrastructure

This sounds counterintuitive, because you often assume that the bigger your infrastructure, the better off you are. Yet having multiple databases only serves to increase the number of steps that your team has to go through to achieve their goals. 

Duplication is a likely result of having multiple databases. Often, teams find that they have databases that they do not need or even use, all the while increasing your security risks. Using a single database to store resources is much wiser from a workflow as well as a security aspect. Students in the best STEAM and STEM programs will be familiar with the importance of optimization. Having more than one database is not the best way to achieve optimization. 

  1. Use Layouts of Pre-Existing Apps

Using templates seems to be an admission of some kind of defeat for many developers. Yet, as the great scientist Isaac Newton noted, in order to see far, you should stand on the shoulders of giants. Take advantage of app templates in order to make a better product and work even faster. Using what came before you and worked well will help with your workflow in ways that are often underestimated.

Layouts will come with source code, which means that you will be able to skip a developmental stage by simply using that source code instead of writing it from scratch. There’s no need to consider things like UI/UX design, because someone else has already worked through those problems for you and come up with a solution you clearly like.

  1. Test! Test! Test!

Many apps fail because they are not rigorously tested. Developers kind of assume that their apps work well or that a few tests are enough to get an idea of the capabilities of the app. If you can test your app under the most extreme conditions, even if it seems unlikely that they will occur, you will be able to build a robust app that consumers will like. 
Running continuous tests is a great way to ensure that problems are dealt with as they arise and you receive almost immediate feedback at each stage of development.

6 Essential Points Why Cbd Is a Good Space for Investors and Innovators

The CBD industry is flourishing and has birthed many entrepreneurs wanting to create something new and exciting. Cannabis has been in the dark for many years despite its medicinal value. Significantly CBD may help in dealing with many health conditions. Luckily, that’s changing lately, with many countries and states legalizing the use of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes. 

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors can benefit from the high demand in the CBD industry for a better ROI. So if you are keen to enter the CBD industry, here are six reasons that indicate that it is a good choice.

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1.  Product Value and Diversity

The CBD industry is not just a flourishing one but also a diverse one in itself. You can find various CBD products ranging from CBDistillery to CBD topicals for acne. That gives CBD manufacturers focus on creating unique CBD supplements for their users. For instance, you can create CBD supplements like pills and capsules that fall under the health and wellness category. Similarly, if you incline towards skincare, the list of CBD topicals like body butter, facemasks, bath bombs, and lotions is endless too. The best part of all is that with more research about CBD and cannabis, the variety of CBD products may expand further in the future.

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2. Lower Regulations

The U.S CBD industry has witnessed massive growth lately, thanks to the Farm Bill 2018. The bill legalized the use of CBD products all over the country. That boosted the sales to revenue of $358 million from $108 million in 2014 when CBD products were still not legal in many states. The farm bill also legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp in the country. That played a significant role as well since manufacturers use CBD extracted from hemp rather than marijuana plants. A high concentration of CBD and a low concentration of THC is why manufacturers use hemp-based CBD. Though CBD products may contain THC, the authorized level states that it must not exceed 0.3%.

3. Increased CAGR in the CBD Industry

The growth rate in the CBD industry has been increasing and may continue to remain that way, looking at the market trends. Cannabis was not much of a mainstream herb in the past, probably due to its psychoactive effects of THC. But, the separation of THC from CBD changed it all. Estimated reports suggest that the CBD industry may reach $13.4 billion in sales with a growth rate of 21.2% by 2028. Through proper management and execution, any business owner can make profits with that growth rate. While the numbers mentioned above represent the CBD industry as a whole, the CBD oil industry alone may experience a growth rate of a whopping 38.4% by 2027.

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4. Pet CBD Market

The CBD industry is not just beneficial for humans but also for pets, mainly dogs. Many pet parents use CBD products to help their fur buddies deal with various issues like anxiety, aggression, etc. CBD may help deal with health conditions by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), present in almost all mammals, including dogs. That is the primary reason CBD may be efficient in helping with pet problems as well. The opportunity in the pet CBD market is also increasing recently, with more pet parents relying on CBD for their pet’s overall health. From yummy treats to CBD oils for pets, the product line in the pet CBD market is also diverse.

5. Customers Understanding the True Value of CBD Products

Here’s another factor contributing to the growth of the CBD industry. Users are now able to differentiate between average and high-quality products. Surprisingly, many CBD brands are failing to deliver the customer’s expectations. So, as a CBD brand or company, if you can reach the users’ expectations, you can boost sales. Moreover, achieving superior quality CBD products is not rocket science anymore. Through the proper extraction techniques, procuring high-quality raw materials, one can manufacture the best quality CBD products. Cultivating your hemp is one of the best ways to ensure the final products are of high quality. 

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6. High Scope For Product Research and Development

The best part about CBD is that it may help deal with various health conditions, physical and psychological. For instance, research suggests that CBD can be efficient in reducing chronic pain and inflammation. So whether the user experiences inflammatory pain caused by arthritis or pain from a tedious physical exercise, CBD products may help. CBD may also help reduce insomnia, anxiety, stress, and depression. As it serves various purposes, it allows manufacturers to create products and get into multiple niches in the CBD industry. You may choose to develop products for pain relief or anxiety relief initially when entering the market. Moreover, the CBD skincare industry is also flourishing since CBD may help deal with skin problems like acne, dry skin, etc.

Final Thoughts

The CBD industry is a fast-growing sector. It is not only flourishing but also an easy one if you plan accordingly. Whether you are keen on investing in a CBD company or creating a brand, high-quality products play a crucial role in its success. So, it’s essential to choose the appropriate niche, customer base, and robust business plan to make huge profits in the CBD industry. 

Blockchain and CBD: Everything You Need To Know

CBD comes from the hemp plant as a component of marijuana that doesn’t make you high. The popularity of this industry has seen mainstream society warming up to it. Today, cannabis use is no longer a stigma. Plenty of research highlights many benefits of the product in treating medical ailments and offering pain relief.

Blockchain technology has played a role in the growth of the CBD industry. There is a unique relationship between blockchain and CBD as they attract attention from all sectors. For example, heavy advertising and restricted banking opportunities characterize both industries. Here is everything you should know about blockchain and CBD.

  1. The technology has improved customer confidence in CBD products.
clear glass jar filled with kush

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Bu6BSErSL_M 

Businesses are using blockchain technology to improve customer confidence and peace of mind when choosing CBD products online. It is helping to deal with any damaged reputation attached to CBD use by providing transparency in inventory management. The technology allows customers access to information about a product through the QR patented code. Businesses can use blockchain to analyze market trends and create market forecasts that will help increase revenue and profits.

CBD has struggled with a lack of awareness and increased regulations. However, cannabis businesses can use blockchain to show proof of selling 100 percent organic products. The technology creates a system for buying and selling CBD products like Sunday Scaries CBD gummies, ensuring transparency. It helps maintain the industry’s integrity and morals by providing the correct product as advertised.

  1. Cryptocurrency serves as a payment option.
blue and red line illustration

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/vBCVcWUyvyM 

Since banks in the United States don’t accept fiat currency for hemp transactions, blockchain offers an alternative banking option for CBD businesses. Cannabis industries have struggled with making payments for the products. They cannot process Visa payments through their banks due to the regulations against cannabis products.

This is one of the many problems hitting the CBD industry concerning accessing banking services. The issues of payment processing make it difficult for the industry to thrive. Fortunately, blockchain provides the technology to facilitate money transfer from the payer to the payee without passing through a bank. The entire process is efficient and helps the business avoid running through the risks such as fraud. The alternative banking solutions can enhance the growth of the CBD industry even further.

  1. Blockchain technology helps track products from seed to market.
person using phone and laptop computer

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/EMPZ7yRZoGw 

CBD businesses can use blockchain technology to improve transparency, traceability, and accountability. The technology facilitates the tracking of cannabis production and distribution from the farm to the market. It helps businesses build trust between consumers and suppliers and encourage a smoother process of purchasing the product.

When you integrate blockchain in the business, the information is stored in a blockchain-based system for comprehensive tracking and tracking. Customers can trace the source of CBD products and their journey to the market through a QR code. They can use this information to prove the quality and legality of CBD products to avoid purchasing.

As businesses look to digitalize the supply chain process, blockchain technology helps reduce fraud by monitoring every transaction. The technology allows monitoring of supply chains by focusing on the production, distribution, and sale of the product. It solves all issues related to illegal transactions with transparency in price models.

  1. The technology streamlines the purchase process.

Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs are exploring ways of legalizing cannabis use through blockchain technology. They partner with CBD businesses to push the industry to the next level by creating a valuable database. Blockchain brings transparency into the industry that can build trust between the cannabis industry and its stakeholders.

By streamlining the purchase process, blockchain solves issues of duplicate prescription and illegal transactions. It determines the source of CBD products and establishes total transparency that benefits the whole industry at large. The blockchain is helping businesses to manage the paper trail of all transactions and get all the data relating to transactions.

Through this technology, a business can connect with farmers, suppliers, and distribution centers in the value chain with ease. Customers can access blockchain data to determine the source of CBD products and track the process from start to finish.

  1. Blockchain facilitates strong intellectual property protection.

silver iPhone 6 on brown surfacde

How To Deal With A Foreign Workforce Post-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world, and more than a year from its start date, we’re still trying to cope with the fallout. Workforces have evolved significantly since the start of the outbreak. With businesses forced to close thanks to rolling lockdown situations, they had to get creative about hiring and maintaining their workers. CNBC notes that many people started seeing working from home part-time as the norm during the pandemic. Even so many businesses opted to furlough employees. These workers would be kept in reserve for when lockdowns eased, and businesses were once again allowed to open. Other companies opted for hiring remote freelancers to replace those they lost because of the pandemic. In a post-pandemic world, however, how does a business deal with an ever-increasing international workforce?

An International Worker Crisis

While many people would be acutely aware of North America’s situation, we tend to lose focus on the fact that the pandemic was a worldwide event. From Indonesia to Argentina, the world has seen workers lose their jobs because of dwindling business income and finding reskilling necessary. McKinsey even suggests that businesses should look into reskilling their existing workforce if they are to survive the pandemic. In places that are already low on population, such as Japan and Canada, the need for new migrants to build out the workforce becomes even more critical. With several less economically developed countries facing the pinch of a contracting economy, there’s likely to be a wave of incoming immigration to more economically developed countries.

The Freelancer Equation

Due notes that many big businesses much prefer to hire freelancers because it helps them to manage their costs more effectively. Over the last year, we’ve seen several more people enter the so-called ‘gig economy” to make ends meet. Even so, established freelancers exist in several countries. In 2018, Payoneer, an international payment processor popular with freelancers, surveyed 21,000 workers from over 170 countries globally. Inc. mentions that from this survey, they discovered that 80% of freelancers have between one to three projects going on at the same time.

Freelancers fill a void, and businesses will rely on them more often as they start paring down their in-person workforce. Hiring internationally can still be a headache, especially when local tax regulations may not conform with the employer’s home country. Freelancers work around this issue by allowing them to operate as independent contractors. The business doesn’t keep them as an employee. Instead, they are a separate entity responsible for their own tax filing and details to their local authorities. This simplification makes it much easier (and less stressful) to manage a freelance workforce than one that’s made up of salaried workers. Overseas, the operation cost may be much lower, as may the amount needed to fund staff. However, running afoul of local legislation may be more trouble than it’s worth. If a company intends to go the freelancer route, they may pay more per job but wouldn’t need to keep an eye on the changing local labor legislation. For many, this is an acceptable trade-off.

International Expansion and Acquiring Workers

For businesses intending to expand internationally, locating a local workforce is a challenge. Compliance is always a concern when it comes to international hires. Companies used to how North America does things may have a rude awakening if they move to countries like those in South America where strict labor law is imposed upon businesses intending to operate there, especially if they’re looking to operate in the world of Legacy Countertops and laser treatments. There are solutions that companies may choose to employ, one of which is the freelancer hiring methodology mentioned above. Alternatively, a business could opt for  the Employer of Record solution instead.

What is an Employer of Record?

An Employer of Record is a solution that enables international companies to access a local workforce through a proxy. The proxy could be an employment agency or a contact on the ground responsible for recruitment and interviewing. Once the candidate has made it through the interview process and is hired, the Employer of Record takes over the relationship as the primary contact. Once they do this, the Employer of Record is responsible for HR, employment benefits, etc., and the end-client company only needs to deal with day-to-day operations. Employer of Record solutions are useful for several reasons:

§  More Rapid Expansion into New Markets: If a business wants to enter a new market rapidly, using the Employer of Record method allows them to get their business up and running faster. There’s no need to go through the lengthy process of registering a local imprint of the company and the bureaucracy associated with that process. The EOR allows for compliance in that particular local market and doesn’t take excess time to set up.

§  Expansion Costs are Reduced: Businesses entering new international markets usually have to deal with paying fees for registration, rentals, offices, etc. The money allocated to a global expansion may be significant, but if the business doesn’t need to throw that money into these areas, it could be used to do more. EOR solutions enable an enterprise to reduce the cost of entry into a new market since they just need to establish contact with the client company on the ground and build a relationship. The client company handles all the local expenses while the parent company keeps their funding for more viable purposes.

§  Compliance With Local Laws: As mentioned before, compliance is one of the hardest things to guarantee when a business expands into an international market. Local legislation is fluid, and where a market suffers from protectionist measures, they may be draconian. It would be easier for a local company to set up than an international business to get a foothold. EOR solutions ensure that the parent company can still operate within the country without dealing with the red tape associated with the company’s legal status. All employees would similarly be compliant since they would function under the client-end business registered within the country.

§  Allows For Non-Core Functionality Outsourcing: Typically, a business has certain core functionalities. When it expands into international markets, outsourcing non-core functionalities helps them keep the essential parts of the business in-house, where they can focus on perfecting those processes. Outsourcing also enables the business to operate with less risk in some jurisdictions. There’s no need for the company to ensure compliance with local payroll requirements or submit to labor laws within the country. They can focus their home office on core functionalities and outsource to the end-client business in the international locale.

A Changing Employment World

To say that the world has shifted its focus from traditional employment would be an understatement. Between freelancing and international EOR companies, there is a significant amount of work being done overseas for local businesses. For some people, this is seen as a negative. It results in an outflow of funds from the country, potentially impacting the local economy. However, as the world becomes more globalized, this is less of a concern. If international workers have the skills, then businesses shouldn’t hesitate to take them up on their offers. Establishing these relationships with international workers may become even more of a vital function as time goes on.

How Does Local SEO Work?

The internet has widely been seen as a way for businesses to reach a global audience. What is often ignored is that it is also a way for businesses to more effectively reach potential consumers within their vicinity. Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a powerful tool that is neglected as businesses chase far-flung consumers. Yet, mobile searches qualified by the phrase, “near me” have grown by 900%. Consumers are hungry for information about goods and services near them. That’s an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss. 

Explaining Local SEO 

Local SEO refers to the optimization of a website for local search results. The web content, the link building and the on-page optimization are enriched with locally relevant content. This is particularly powerful if your business is naturally focused on serving your immediate community.

SEO itself refers to optimization of your website so that your page ranks improves. Local SEO is more granular. Rather than optimizing your content against the universe of service providers in your industry, you optimize based on your location. 

How Local SEO Works  

Optimizing your website with locally relevant content, links and on-page optimizations sends Google a signal that you want to attract people who are interested in receiving a service within a certain locale. Aside from this, local SEO is similar to “normal” SEO. So, when a person searches for goods and services with a qualifier “near me”, Google scans its page index for the best results and spits out pages based on its page ranking. The better optimize your content, the higher up the search results you will feature. 

Google uses various criteria to help it give the user the right results. It looks at NAP citations; the number of times users have “checked in” to a locale; the Google Maps ratings of businesses; the Google My Business keywords; online reviews and keywords; the amount of content shared on social media; and if your business has a Google My Business listing. 

  • Presence of your Google My Business listing

Google and other search engines also view the technical part of your website pages. They look through your LocalBusiness Schema Markup. This element makes it clear to Google that you’re a local business aiming for the areas you serve.

Why Local SEO Is Important

The best search engine optimization services will help you do well and rank highly on search results based on the above metrics. This means you will be able to capture more clients interested in goods and services in a particular location. Often, when people want to get goods and services in a particular location, they also want to get other goods and services there. In other words, they will have many reasons to be in that location. So you just may have a repeat customer on your hands. And, that person is likely to know other people in that area, meaning leads for you. 

You should pay more attention to customers who want to buy in your vicinity. These are low hanging fruits that you cannot afford to ignore. ALl kinds of businesses can increase sales by tapping into local SEO. A whopping 88% of consumers who use location qualifiers in their searches make related searches within a week.

How To End Your Business Legally

When your business has come to the end of its active life, you need to close off its operations legally. The Houston Chronicle tells us that the term for this process is known as “Dissolving”. Dissolving a company is a simple process for a sole proprietorship. However, as a business’s structure gets more complicated, it takes some more effort to ensure that a business stops existing as a legal entity. When dissolving your company, there are the legal steps you need to take:

  1. LLC/Corporation Action

The board of directors would draft and then approve the resolution to dissolve the corporation. When the resolution is tabled, the shareholders will vote on it. The results of the voting should be entered into the corporate record book. WHile not strictly necessary, documenting the overall decision and the attitude of members to the dissolution is recommended.

  1. Filing the Paperwork

Once the resolution for dissolution has passed, the company must file the documents to dissolve the company in the state where the business was initially incorporated. If the company operates across state borders, then each jurisdiction that the company is present in must also be advised of its dissolution. The requirements for the articles of dissolution vary from state to state. In some cases, a state legislature will require the business to settle claims and notify creditors before it files for dissolution. 

In other cases, these steps can come after the dissolution filing has already been submitted. Some states need the company to have tax clearance before they can file for dissolution. If the company owes taxes to the state, these must first be dealt with before it can file for dissolution.

It is of course preferable to sell the business instead of dissolving it, as this benefits all of the owners by providing some profit according to business broker and advisers at ExitAdviser. Having the proper documents needed for selling a business are just as crucial as if you were to dissolve it.

  1. Formalizing Business Closure at the Federal level

Even though the business is no longer in operation, its tax obligations don’t immediately stop. You need to formalize the closing with the IRS and with taxation officials at the state level. The IRS itself has provided a checklist for closing a business that allows you to check off each action as you complete it. Payroll reporting obligations will apply if you have workers that are registered under the company.

Most IRS forms will come with a checkbox that you can utilize if this is your last year in operation. You’re also required to make a note of the property you dispose of (and who it went to) as well as any like-kind exchanges that you’re undertaking on behalf of the business. 

Another point to remember is that your EIN remains valid, even though the business is shut down. The IRS does not recycle EIN numbers, and once you get one, that number remains associated with your business, even if that business is no longer in operation. Even if you stop using the EIN for tax filings, and no revenue is received from the business that the EIN is registered to, the IRS will never reassign the EIN to another company. Each newly filed company gets an EIN of their very own, and the number is a permanent record of their tax payments. If the business reincorporates at a later date, the EIN may be reused for tax payments.

  1. Notify Creditors of Closure

In all states, you are required to inform your creditors by mail about the business’s closure. The letter you send should state that the company intends to dissolve, a mailing address to send their claims to, all information included in a request, and the deadline for submitting the claim. Furthermore, the letter should state that claims not received by the deadline (usually 120 days after closure) will not be entertained. Some states require businesses that are closing to declare their intention to close in the local paper.

There are situations where your state may allow claims from creditors that your business isn’t aware of at the time of closure. In these cases, you may be required to place an advertisement in the local paper to let everyone know about the closure of the business. If you’re unsure about if your state allows for this situation, consult a local lawyer for insight into whether you need to advertise the closure.

  1. Settling Claims from Creditors

When the business has ceased operations, creditors may make claims on the business’s assets. Based on the level of debt that the company has to the creditor, he or she may be entitled to some of the business’s holdings’ best corporate meeting spaces. If you have to reject creditor claims, you must write to the creditor and outline why you had to reject their requests.

You don’t need to accept all of a creditor’s claims either. If a creditor has a claim, he or she may decide to settle for less of the claim, or a transfer of assets in lieu of any monetary payments owed to him or her. In most cases, a business can discuss the situation with the creditor and work out a settlement. In many cases, the settlement is likely to be in favor of the business.

  1. Distribution of Assets

When all of the creditors’ claims are settled, the business can distribute assets to company owners based on the share of their ownership. If a particular owner holds 80% of the company’s stock, for example, he or she is entitled to 80% of the assets left over after the dissolution of the company and payments to creditors have been settled.

All of a business’s asset distribution must be reported to the IRS as we noted above. If your business has multiple classes of stock, then the company bylaws will usually help determine how the remaining assets are to be distributed to the shareholders. 

Closing Up Shop

Sometimes, you need to shut down your business for any number of reasons. It happens to some owners from time to time. Protecting your personal assets from creditors is a crucial part of being a smart business owner. Don’t be discouraged. With time, you may chance upon a new idea that will be even better than the unsustainable one.

Improving the Banking Experience With Customer Value Management

For many, everyday interactions with their bank are a headache, to say the least. Poor customer service is “rampant” in major financial institutions, and according to experts like the Harvard Business Review, that’s because it’s profitable for them to hassle their clientele to the greatest degree allowable.

News like that might make any hope for improvement seem pointless, but beleaguered customers might be able to take solace in the potential benefits of customer value management. Applied to banking, it might be enough to spark some serious change to the entire customer experience. Here’s what you need to know.

Customer Value Management Explained

In short, customer value management (CVM) refers to the techniques that companies can use to manage the value journey of their customers — the series of steps they’ll take from initial contact to eventually doing business with the organization.

Successful CVM encompasses many elements, but one of the most critical, in this context, is how businesses are incentivized to build perceived value by providing quality to the customer. Let’s next take a look at ways in which this concept might be used to drive changes that add value to the customer experience in banking.

How Customer Value Management Intersects With Banking

One of the most effective ways in which banks can apply the ideas of CVM to their customer experience is through improved personalization. It’s well-known that the more tailored they perceive their treatment, the better customers typically perceive it to be. 

By getting away from a “one size fits all” approach and trying out some targeted interactions, banks can better engage their customers and help make the experience that much more enjoyable. For instance, personalized product and service recommendations delivered at critical points in the customer journey, or a precise cross-sell opportunity that aligns with a customer’s life goals can go a long way to making them feel valued.

There’s also the idea that proper implementation of CVM can help interactions between banks and customers feel less like cold transactions and more like friendly interactions. Garnering good will like that makes customers more likely to stick around and even recommend a financial institution to their friends and family.

Interactions like these don’t just arise from nothing, however. In order for customer value management to become effective, banks also need to prioritize data gathering and customer analytics. This will allow them to pinpoint the unique needs of their clientele, then start making the necessary adjustments to fulfill those needs with the type of care that positively impacts their overall experience.

Unforgettable Cyber Attacks — So Far

Ask any computer crime attorney or cybersecurity expert, and they’ll tell you that there are serious dangers lurking out there on the net. Criminals across the globe are always looking for ways to instigate that next big incident, and these following examples illustrate just how devastating the ripple effects can be when they succeed.

The Baltimore County Schools Ransomware Attack

Back in November of 2020, Baltimore county school records were hit hard in a cyber attack that affected student transcripts, ID numbers, state test scores, and more. 

Many of these records were completely destroyed or corrupted beyond repair, and the school system had to put a pause on remote learning classes for over 100,000 students. 

The school district’s reticence to share details about the exact nature of the attack means that little else is known beyond the fact that anonymous hackers hit the school system with some kind of ransomware and that the recovery efforts will take some time to complete.

The SolarWinds Hack

SolarWinds provides various IT management services to a wide range of big organizations. In late 2020 it was discovered that hackers managed to infect their servers, gaining the ability to inject malicious code into their software updates and then spread those to clients.

This left big names vulnerable to external data modifications, data theft, and unauthorized remote access to internal devices and software. Organizations affected included the Pentagon, Department of State, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and even the Treasury. The extent of the damage could make this one of 2020s most severe breaches overall.

The Advantech Ransom

Holding data hostage is a common tactic for cyber criminals, and this is exactly what happened when hackers breached the systems of IOT manufacturer Advantech in November of 2020. 

The hackers demanded quite the sum, 750 Bitcoin (equivalent to more than $14 million), and claimed that the amount of data they stole from Advantech was well beyond the snippets they had leaked on their site. No word on whether or not that ransom was paid.

The Marriott International Breach

If it feels like Marriott’s name and cybersecurity breaches are starting to become a common occurrence, that’s because the 2020 infiltration of their data stores was the second in just as many years. Cyber bandits made off with the information on some 5.2 million guests, though the hotel chain says that it was nothing as payment info or personal IDs. 

Instead, Marriott claims, the thieves were only able to get away with contact details and some customer loyalty account information. No passwords, PINs, or extremely sensitive details were stolen, if the hotel’s management is to be believed.

The Importance of Balanced Inventory Management

As retail trends shift quickly, a small business may find itself an opportunity to leverage new technology and improve their supply web capabilities. Many new business owners typically focus on making the most sales as well as improving their ROI. With that being said, the task of properly fulfilling the sold products may not have as much an emphasis. In fact, only 18% of small organizations use inventory management systems. While tracking is possible using manual documents, it may not be as accurate. Without an accurate inventory, many problems can ensue with inventory levels that are too little or are carrying too much. Make sure to check out the resource below to understand more about the significance of using a balanced inventory management system.

Infographic created by WSI, a warehousing and distribution company

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